United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MARVIN M. NARCISSE, Plaintiff,
M. DALPHINE, Defendant.
ORDER OF DISMISSAL PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §
Jeffrey Alker Meyer United States District Judge
his prosecution in Connecticut state court for an attack on a
77-year-old woman, plaintiff Marvin M. Narcisse was confined
at the Whiting Forensic Division of the Connecticut Valley
Hospital. He has filed a complaint pro se and in
forma pauperis under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging
that his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments
were violated when he was denied permission by the hospital
to attend his mother's funeral. For the reasons set forth
below, I will dismiss plaintiff's complaint pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), with leave granted to
plaintiff to file an amended complaint within 30
afternoon of December 22, 2011, plaintiff engaged in an
unprovoked and horrifying attack on a 77-year-old woman in
Bridgeport. See State v. Narcise, 2013 WL 2132107,
at *1 (Conn. Super. 2013). The woman was walking on the sidewalk
away from a grocery store when plaintiff ran up from behind
her, tackled her to the ground, and then stabbed her
repeatedly in the face with the broken-off stem of a wine
glass. Ibid. Plaintiff was described by witnesses
that day as acting in a deranged rage and had no rational
reason for the attack. Ibid. The woman was severely
and permanently injured. Id. at 2. Defendant was
charged with attempted murder among other charges, and he was
eventually adjudicated by a Connecticut state court judge in
April 2013 to be not guilty by reason of mental disease or
defect. Id. at *2-*5.
following facts are drawn from plaintiff's complaint in
this case and supporting exhibits. On October 4, 2013,
plaintiff was committed to the jurisdiction of the
Psychiatric Security Review Board (“PSRB”) for a
length of time not to exceed forty years and confined at the
Whiting Forensic Division of the Connecticut Valley Hospital.
Since his arrival at Whiting, the PSRB has not authorized any
trips for plaintiff outside of the facility except for
medical appointments, and even then only under police escort.
Doc. #1 at 24.
mother died on July 29, 2015. Her funeral was held on August
4, 2015. After learning of his mother's death and prior
to the funeral, plaintiff submitted requests to attend the
funeral to various officials at the Connecticut Valley
Hospital. The officials denied plaintiff's requests to
attend his mother's funeral. Plaintiff now seeks judgment
against defendant for an award of $3 million in damages.
has attached papers to his complaint that I may consider in
evaluating the validity of his complaint. Chambers v.
Time Warner, Inc., 282 F.3d 147, 153 (2d Cir. 2002).
According to these papers (which include a letter to
plaintiff from the chief executive officer of the hospital),
plaintiff's request was denied for clinical reasons and
in light of “numerous events [at the hospital] when you
[plaintiff] have not been able to maintain your composure,
” as well as in light of information that plaintiff was
upset in recent days with his family. Doc. #1 at 20, 24.
the hospital acknowledged that it had permitted plaintiff to
leave the hospital for medical appointments, it had done so
only with plaintiff under a police escort, id. at
24, and the hospital's chief executive officer further
noted that “it is an extremely rare event to allow a
patient from maximum security to attend a funeral in the
community.” Id. at 25. The hospital offered to
assist with the planning of a memorial service in honor of
plaintiff's mother at the visiting room of the hospital.
Id. at 22, 25.
also alleges that prisoners and other hospital patients have
been permitted to attend family funerals. Id. at 14.
The papers attached to his complaint reflect that he asked
the hospital to identify how many other patients in the past
ten years had been permitted to attend funeral services.
Id. at 21.
district court must dismiss an in forma pauperis
action if it determines that the action is frivolous or
malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). In
determining whether a case is subject to dismissal, it is
well-established that “pro se complaints must
be construed liberally and interpreted to raise the strongest
arguments that they suggest.” Sykes v. Bank of
Am., 723 F.3d 399, 403 (2d Cir. 2013). Still, even a
pro se complaint must plead “enough facts to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
brings this case under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which creates a
federal cause of action against any person who, under color
of state law, deprives a citizen or a person within the
jurisdiction of the United States of any right, privilege, or
immunity secured by the Constitution or laws of the United
States. 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff names only one
defendant, whom he identifies as “State of Connecticut
Mental Health Commissioner M. Dalphine M.D.” Doc. #1 at
1. The complaint does not name as a defendant any of the
officials who were involved with the decision not to release
plaintiff and whose names appear on the documents attached to
is well settled that, in order to establish a defendant's
individual liability in a suit brought under § 1983, a
plaintiff must show, inter alia, the defendant's
personal involvement in the alleged constitutional
deprivation.” Grullon v. City of New Haven,
720 F.3d 133, 138 (2d Cir. 2013). Here, plaintiff alleges
that he informed administrators at Connecticut Valley
Hospital of his desire to attend his mother's funeral,
but he does not allege that he contacted defendant, nor that
defendant was in any way involved in the decision to deny him
permission to attend the funeral. Because plaintiff does not
assert that defendant was personally involved in the alleged
constitutional deprivation, plaintiff's claims against
defendant in her individual capacity are not cognizable under
is also barred from bringing a § 1983 claim against this
defendant in her official capacity, because state officials
sued in their official capacities are immune from suit for
damages pursuant to the Eleventh Amendment. See Pennhurst
State Sch. & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100
(1984) (agencies and departments of the state are entitled to
assert the state's Eleventh Amendment immunity);
Davis v. New York, 316 F.3d 93, 101 (2d Cir. 2002)
(state, state agencies, and prison officials in ...